It’s that time of the year, today officially starts Cyber Monday Week and all those great deals. But this week’s highlight will take place on Friday, November 24th, with the start of Black Friday. The end of November is synonymous with a strong Christmas spirit, uncontrollable shopping impulses, and “the best” offers. That‘s today’s normal in Germany, in Europe.
Black Friday ushers in the beginning of the hotly contested Christmas business and has become the biggest discount campaign in online sales throughout Germany. Every year since 2012, the phenomenon breaks all online sales records and boosts e-commerce.
In addition, the power and influence of the online giant Amazon, which has successfully introduced this habit in Europe, are likely to increase. But this stream can also be exploited for personal gain.
What do online retailers have to pay attention to, to succeed, and what can they do to oppose Black Friday?
Implement high quality product feeds
The platform economy is establishing itself slowly and with it, the marketplaces. The advantages of these platforms for merchants are the enormous range and visibility as well as the additional services offered, such as reliable fulfillment. They provide a very good entry point and are particularly interesting for campaigns such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
But to be successful on Amazon, optimising the product feed is a must: product content, product descriptions, and additional services, such as delivery, should be enhanced. Especially when 38 percent of consumers start their online search on a marketplace and currently 90 percent of German online shoppers are buying on Amazon.
Amazon, as a product search engine, wants to offer customers those products on their query, which promise the highest customer satisfaction. For this reason, it is crucial to ask the following questions before setting up a campaign:
- Does the information on the product page match the search query?
- Did I upload relevant pictures or even explanatory videos to make the shopping experience easier?
- Are the price and shipping options attractive and reasonable?
- hat do other customers have to say about the product?
Digital services and mobile optimisation remain relevant
Mobile continues to be the driving force behind last year’s exponential e-commerce growth. According to Adobe Analytics, almost one in three website views in Germany is made via smartphone (51 percent more than last year), but the conversion rate is significantly worse. This is due primarily to a lack mobile optimised experience.
Mobile optimised stores and apps with seamless and enjoyable use of lead the race in the Christmas sales. Quick and easy check-outs and various payment methods attract the customers attention. But it is equally important to provide excellent customer service.
Nowadays there are numerous opportunities in the market to provide a personalised and direct customer service. Messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are on the upswing. With them you can ask questions, request more information about a product, or track the delivery.
Moving away from Amazon
But this storm of bargains can also be scooped outside of Amazon!
First, online retailers should be aware of potential offers from Black Friday & Cyber Monday early in order to respond with counter-offers. Customers looking for cheaper alternatives before buying on Amazon can be intercepted. It’s worth noting that last year’s Cyber Monday generated even more revenue and traffic than Black Friday, and also saw higher discounts.
Retailers can lure customers to their own online shop through contests, discount promotions in newsletters, or on social media. Customers are already aware of Black Friday and the associated marketing measures for sales and discount campaigns anyway.
To ensure the success of such a campaign, store operators should ensure that their website does not slow down or even go completely offline. That would be a dramatic scene to unfold. If you host your site yourself, you must provide enough hardware resources. If you host your server in the cloud, you should book additional hardware resources for predictable peak times.
Another option is to go completely against Black Friday. That’s what the outdoor retailer REI did as it closes its doors for the third year in a row on Friday to launch the #OptOutside campaign, which invites people to spend their time outside instead. Outdoor equipment supplier Patagonia, on the other hand, donated 100 percent of their Black Friday sales to environmental issues.